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CII criticises government for caste-based census

business Updated: May 16, 2010 12:27 IST

Industry chamber CII on Sunday criticised the government for taking up caste-based census wondering "why a dying issue was being revived".

The chamber is totally against caste system and the industry and corporate world is caste blind, newly elected president of CII Hari S Bhartia told PTI.

His Director General Chandrajit Banerjee said: "... why are you raking up an issue which is dying? We think it unnecessarily raises certain social issues, which we think, we have today actually crossed it already."

The chamber's comment comes ahead of an expected meeting of the Union Cabinet this week to take a decision on caste-based census.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has already justified the demand for conducting a caste-based census and said it should not have been discontinued post-independence.

"The caste-based census was last conducted in the year 1931 and the practice should have continued in the post-independence period also, but it did not happen. Now the UPA government has taken an initiative in this regard," Mukherjee had said at Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh last week.

Asked about the chamber's reaction to the move to include caste in the census, Bhartia said: "(It is) tough for us to react because some of our companies are not ready to do caste-based things."

Bhartia, who is also the co-Chairman and Managing Director of pharmaceutical firm Jubilant Organosys Ltd, said: "Our companies are not happy to follow a caste-based policy... Companies want to follow a caste-blind policy."

Explaining the rationale behind CII's opposition to caste-based census, Banerjee said: "Many of the today's younger generation would not know to what caste they belong to, they have to ask their parents as to which cast they belong."

Political parties, including the Samajwadi Party, the RJD and the JD-U have been strongly demanding inclusion of caste in the census exercise. It has also been supported by the BJP.